At the height of the Second World War, on May 17 1942, military authorities closed the Hope Valley Mission (later named Hope Vale) operated by the Lutheran Church, due to fears that the community might interact with Japanese pearlers. The German born missionary Georg Schwarz was arrested and placed in an interment camp and over 250 Aboriginal people at the mission were evacuated and transported to either Woorabinda, south of Rockhampton or Palm Island.
In this digital story, Hope Vale’s War, Pastor Ivan Roennfeldt recounts the evacuation of residents from present day Hope Vale to Palm Island and Woorabinda. He mentions the poor conditions and transport that the Aboriginal people had to endure and the arrangements made upon their return to Hope Vale in 1949.
In the Pastor Roennfeldt collection of images, held by State Library of Queensland, there is a group photograph from 1977 of people who were evacuated from the Hope Valley Mission during the Second World War. The photograph was taken at a reunion celebrating the 90th anniversary of Missionary Schwarz’s arrival.
This song (Evac) is sung in both the traditional language of Hope Vale, Guugu Yimidhirr and English by Tamara Gibson and Harold Bowen. The lyrics recall the forcible relocation of the Cape Bedford Mission during the Second World War to Woorabinda and their return.
- Cape Bedford Mission (Hope Vale) (1886-1942), German Missionaries in Australia, Griffith University